Ontario’s Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee has recommended that the Ontario government immediately build a child care system that is “high quality, affordable, accessible, publicly funded and geared to income, with sufficient spaces to meet the needs of Ontario families.”
After extensive public consultation and research, the committee identified three key contributing factor to the gender wage gap in Ontario including “insufficient options for child care and elder care, resulting in women doing more unpaid caregiving and having less time for paid work.”
As part of an “integrated strategy that addresses the key barriers to women’s full participation at work and in the economy,” the committee’s first recommendation in their final report reads
The government should immediately commit to developing an early child care system within a defined timeframe. The system should provide care that is: high quality, affordable, accessible, publicly funded and geared to income, with sufficient spaces to meet the needs of Ontario families.
Following this report, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is calling for immediate action on child care from the Ontario government.
“Today’s report is clear that child care is key to closing the gender wage gap. We need committed action from the government to build the child care system that Ontario needs. That means base funding, affordable fees and decent work for the child care workforce.” said Carolyn Ferns, OCBCC’s Public Policy Coordinator.
Ontario’s lack of affordable, high quality child care limits many women’s opportunities to participate in full-time work, training or education. In addition, early learning and child care work is an female dominated workforce that continues to experience a ‘care penalty’. This workforce is underpaid and undervalued as determined by Ontario’s pay equity process.
The Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee traveled around Ontario holding public town hall meetings about how to close the 30% gender wage gap in Ontario. At the consultations the Committee found that the lack of affordable child care was the number one issue raised by Ontarians.
“It’s good that the Committee heard the voices around Ontario that are calling for a new approach to child care. With the opportunity of a federal early learning and child care framework in the works, Ontario has a chance to be a leader. But we need a sustained commitment to building a real system.” said Ferns.